Concerts at Hara Arena we won’t forget

When the announcement came of Hara Arena’s closing in 2016, it brought back many memories for area concert goers old enough to drink.

Hara was the place to see anyone who was anyone, or about to become someone in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.

So at that time, we asked Don Habil of Dayton, who has just about seen them all through the years, about his memories. He spent years compiling his Hara Arena show memories and matching them with his saved ticket stubs. He remembered seeing his first Hara experience in the fall of 1970.

"The first show I ever went to was Grand Funk Railroad, with B.B. King as the opener," he said. "It was a weird crowd. Half the crowd was well-dressed black people and the other half 20-year-old dirty white punks."

Habil, who incidentally is going to see Grand Funk Railroad this weekend at Fraze Pavilion, also recalled the time a less-than-amused Dayton crowd booed poor Linda Ronstadt off the stage in tears in the early '70s.

Dayton was a great market for acts trying to build steam in the '70s, like Blue Oyster Cult, who seemed to have a residency there at one point. They could sell out the 5,500-seat venue while building a fan base and vying for air time on the radio on their way to larger venues in larger towns.

Habil also remembers being a part of the unofficial Hara Arena attendance record in 1974 at a Frank Zappa show with Robin Trower opening.

“They never released how many people were at that show, because they would have been busted,” he said. “All the aisles were full. You couldn’t get up to go to the bathroom. It was estimated at 10,000.”

Some of Habil’s favorite shows included:

Emerson, Lake & Palmer: 8/14/74 Welcome Back My Friends Tour (“It was in Quad Sound. It sold out and was a horrible mess.”)

Kiss: 1/31/76 Alive! Tour

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia: 10/29/77 Ra Tour

Alice Cooper: 7/24/80 Flush the Fashion Tour

Cheap Trick: 3/31/81 All Shook Up Tour

The Cars: 2/11/82 Shake It Up Tour

Ozzy Osborne: 5/31/84 Bark At The Moon Tour

Beastie Boys: 3/11/87 Licensed To Ill Tour

Slayer: 11/17/88 South Of Heaven Tour

Public Image Limited: 4/13/92 That What Is Not Tour

Marilyn Manson: 2/14/97 Antichrist Superstar Tour

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